38 Best Things to Do in Raglan, New Zealand in 2024


38 Best Things to Do in Raglan

About Raglan, New Zealand

Raglan is a picturesque coastal town on the western shores of New Zealand’s North Island. This town renowned for its laid-back atmosphere, stunning landscapes, and vibrant surf culture. Raglan is situated just a couple hours’ drive from Auckland. It offers visitors an escape into nature with its rugged coastline. Among Raglan tourist attractions, its pristine beaches stand out as inviting spots for relaxation and water sports. Its charming local cafes and art galleries provide delightful glimpses into the town’s creative spirit.

What to do in Raglan?

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking thrilling outdoor adventures or a leisure traveler looking to unwind amidst breathtaking scenery, Raglan has something to offer for everyone. From world-class surfing spots to tranquil nature walks, there’s a myriad of things to do in Raglan, New Zealand, that cater to diverse interests and preferences.

Best Things to Do in Raglan

Surfing at Ngarunui Beach and Manu Bay


Raglan’s reputation as one of New Zealand’s top surfing destinations is well-deserved, thanks to its consistent waves and stunning beaches. Ngarunui Beach, with its golden sands and rolling waves, is perfect for surfers of all levels. Beginners can take lessons from local surf schools, while experienced surfers can challenge themselves on the powerful breaks.

Manu Bay, just a short drive from Raglan, is another must-visit spot for surf enthusiasts. This world-famous left-hand point break offers long, clean rides and is often featured in surf magazines and films. Even if you’re not catching waves, watching the pros carve through the barrels at Manu Bay is an unforgettable experience.


Boat Tour along the stunning Black Sand Beach


Raglan’s rugged coastline is adorned with pristine black sand beaches, creating a striking contrast against the azure waters of the Tasman Sea. One of the best ways to explore this natural beauty is by taking a boat tour along the coast.

Hop aboard a guided boat tour and cruise past towering cliffs, hidden coves, and dramatic rock formations. Watch for native wildlife such as seals, dolphins, and seabirds that call this coastline home. Some tours even offer the opportunity to go fishing or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, providing an immersive experience in Raglan’s marine wonderland.


Walk or bike along the Raglan Coastal Walkway


Immerse yourself in Raglan’s natural beauty by embarking on the Raglan Coastal Walkway. This scenic trail offers breathtaking coastline views, rugged cliffs, and rolling hills. Whether you prefer a stroll or an invigorating bike ride, this picturesque route is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.


Fishing at the Raglan Wharf


Cast your line and experience the thrill of fishing at the Raglan Wharf. This popular fishing spot offers ample opportunities to reel in local catches, including snapper, kingfish, and trevally. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice fisherman, the Raglan Wharf promises a memorable fishing experience against Raglan’s serene waters.


Visit Raglan Rock for a Rock Climbing Adventure


Raglan Rock is a must-visit destination for adrenaline seekers. Towering over the landscape, this natural rock formation provides the perfect playground for rock climbing enthusiasts. With routes suitable for all skill levels, Raglan Rock offers an exhilarating challenge amidst breathtaking surroundings. Remember to soak in the panoramic views from the top as your reward for conquering the climb.


Exploring Local Shops and Art Galleries in the Town Center


Stroll through Raglan’s vibrant town center and discover a treasure trove of local shops and art galleries. From unique handmade crafts to contemporary artwork, Raglan’s eclectic retail scene showcases the talents of local artisans. Browse for souvenirs, indulge in boutique shopping, or simply soak up the town’s artistic ambiance as you explore its charming streets.


Visit Aloha Marketplace


Start your Raglan adventure by exploring Aloha Marketplace, a vibrant hub showcasing the town’s eclectic mix of art, crafts, and local produce. Browse boutique shops, galleries, and stalls selling everything from handmade jewelry to organic goodies. Take the chance to interact with local artisans and gain insights into Raglan’s creative community.


Kayaking or SUP Surfing on Lake Waikare


For a serene outdoor escapade, head to Lake Waikare and embark on a kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) excursion. Glide across the tranquil waters surrounded by lush greenery and majestic cliffs. Keep an eye out for native bird species and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this natural haven. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced paddler, Lake Waikare offers an unforgettable aquatic adventure.


Michael Hope Lookout


For panoramic views of Raglan’s breathtaking coastline, go to Michael Hope Lookout. Situated atop a hill, this vantage point offers sweeping vistas of the Tasman Sea, Raglan Harbor, and the town below. Pack a picnic and enjoy a leisurely afternoon, admiring the scenic beauty stretching as far as the eye can see. Don’t forget your camera to capture Instagram-worthy snapshots of this picturesque setting.


Play Golf


Unwind amidst Raglan’s stunning landscapes with a round of golf at the Raglan Golf Club. Nestled amidst rolling green hills and native bush, this 18-hole course offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for golf enthusiasts of all skill levels. Tee off against Mount Karioi’s backdrop and enjoy this idyllic setting’s peaceful ambiance. After your game, relax at the clubhouse and relish your fellow golfers’ camaraderie.


Free Things to Do in Raglan

Relax on the Beautiful Beaches of Raglan


Raglan is famous for its world-class surf beaches, including Ngarunui Beach, Whale Bay, and Manu Bay. Whether you’re an experienced surfer catching waves or simply want to soak up the sun, Raglan’s beaches offer something for everyone. With golden sands, rugged cliffs, and crystal-clear waters, these beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or strolling along the shoreline.


Visit Te Uku Wind Farm


For a unique outdoor experience, head to the Te Uku Wind Farm, just a short drive from Raglan. Take a self-guided tour of this sustainable energy project and marvel at the towering wind turbines dotting the landscape. Learn about renewable energy production and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the lookout points.


Spend a Day at Wainui Reserve


Nature enthusiasts will love exploring Wainui Reserve, a tranquil oasis in Raglan’s heart. Stroll along the walking trails and admire the native flora and fauna, including majestic kauri trees and lush ferns. Pack a picnic and relax in the peaceful surroundings, or challenge yourself to a hike up Mt. Karioi for breathtaking coast views.


Visit the Bryant Memorial Reserve


History buffs will want to attend the Bryant Memorial Reserve, home to the remains of the SS Wairarapa shipwreck. Explore the rugged coastline and discover the fascinating stories behind this maritime tragedy. With interpretive signage providing insights into the area’s rich maritime heritage, the Bryant Memorial Reserve offers a captivating glimpse into Raglan’s past.


Watch the Sunset at Manu Bay


A visit to Raglan would only be complete with witnessing the spectacular sunset at Manu Bay. Grab a blanket and find a spot on the sandy shores as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the rugged cliffs and rolling waves. With its dramatic coastal scenery and vibrant hues, Manu Bay is the perfect place to unwind and reflect on the beauty of nature.


Things to do Around Raglan

Mountain Biking at Te Ara Kākāriki Bike Trails


For outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers, the Te Ara Kākāriki Bike Trails offer an exhilarating adventure through Raglan’s native bush and farmland. With trails suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders, exploring Raglan on two wheels is a fantastic way to experience the region’s stunning landscapes and diverse terrain. As you pedal through the trails, you’ll also have the opportunity to discover various things to do near Raglan, such as immersing yourself in the local culture at nearby villages, indulging in delicious cuisine at quaint cafes, or simply relaxing on the pristine beaches dotting the coastline.


Bridal Veil Falls


Nature lovers will be captivated by the beauty of Bridal Veil Falls, a magnificent waterfall just a short drive from Raglan. Surrounded by lush native bush, these cascading falls plummet 55 meters into the pool below, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Visitors can stroll along well-maintained walking tracks to various viewing platforms, allowing for stunning photo opportunities and moments of tranquility amidst nature’s splendor.


Karioi Summit Track


For those seeking a challenge and breathtaking panoramic views, the Karioi Summit Track is a must-do activity. This rugged trek takes hikers through native forest and coastal scrub to the summit of Mount Karioi, where they’re rewarded with sweeping vistas of Raglan’s coastline and the Tasman Sea. While the hike is challenging, the sense of accomplishment and the awe-inspiring scenery make it well worth the effort.


Waitomo Glowworm Caves


Just a scenic drive from Raglan lies the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a world-renowned natural wonder that promises a magical experience. Embark on a guided tour through underground caverns illuminated by thousands of tiny glowworms, creating a breathtaking spectacle akin to a starry night sky. From boat rides along subterranean rivers to exploring awe-inspiring limestone formations, visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves is an unforgettable adventure.


Kawhia Hot Water Beach


Unwind and relax at Kawhia Hot Water Beach, where natural hot springs bubble to the surface, creating natural thermal pools right on the beach. Visitors can dig their hot pool in the sand, soaking in the rejuvenating thermal waters while enjoying sweeping ocean views. Whether it’s a sunny day or a starlit night, Kawhia Hot Water Beach offers the perfect opportunity to unwind and soak up the serenity of Raglan’s coastal paradise.


Mount Pirongia


Embark on an unforgettable hiking adventure up Mount Pirongia, the highest peak in the Waikato region. With several trails catering to various fitness levels, hikers can immerse themselves in native bush, encounter unique flora and fauna, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.


Whale Bay


Experience the magic of Whale Bay, a picturesque beach renowned for its pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters. Whether you’re keen on surfing the legendary left-hand break, exploring the tidal pools teeming with marine life, or simply unwinding on the beach, Whale Bay offers endless opportunities for relaxation and recreation.


Te Toto Gorge


For the adventurous souls, a trek through Te Toto Gorge promises an exhilarating experience. This rugged coastal track offers stunning cliff-top views of the Tasman Sea, dramatic rock formations, and the chance to spot native birdlife. Be prepared for a challenging hike that rewards you with unparalleled natural beauty.


Waitetuna Wind Farm


Discover sustainable energy practices firsthand at the Waitetuna Wind Farm. Take a guided tour to learn about wind energy generation, explore the vast turbine fields, and enjoy panoramic vistas of Raglan’s rolling hills and coastline. It’s an educational and scenic outing for the whole family.


Pirongia Forest Park


Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Pirongia Forest Park, a sprawling expanse of native bush and walking trails. Whether you prefer a stroll or a challenging hike, the park offers a range of tracks suitable for all ages and abilities. Keep an eye out for native wildlife and soak in the serene ambiance of this pristine natural sanctuary.

Things to do in Raglan in Winter

Go Surfing


Despite the chillier weather, winter is an excellent time to catch some waves in Raglan. With fewer crowds and consistent swells, experienced surfers flock to spots like Manu Bay and Whale Bay for epic sessions. If you’re new to surfing, many local surf schools offer lessons tailored to all skill levels, allowing you to experience the thrill of riding Raglan’s renowned waves.


Coastal Walks


Embrace the crisp winter air by embarking on one of Raglan’s scenic coastal walks. The Te Kopua Walkway, which follows the shoreline of Raglan Harbour, offers stunning views of the water and surrounding landscapes. For a longer trek, head to the Wainui Reserve and explore its network of trails winding through native bush and along the coast.


Raglan Museum


Delve into Raglan’s rich history and culture with a visit to the Raglan Museum. Housed in a historic building, the museum showcases exhibits highlighting the town’s Maori heritage, maritime history, and local art scene. There’s plenty to discover, from traditional artifacts to contemporary works within its walls.


Rainforest Hikes


Escape the winter chill by immersing yourself in Raglan’s lush rainforest surroundings. The Karioi Summit Track offers a challenging yet rewarding hike, leading you through dense forest to panoramic coast views and beyond. For a more stroll, explore the trails of the Raglan Eco-Hamlet and marvel at the native flora and fauna along the way.

Things to do in Raglan on a Rainy Day

Visit Workshop Brewing


Seek refuge from the rain and journey through Raglan’s craft beer scene at Workshop Brewing. Situated in the heart of town, this microbrewery offers a warm and inviting atmosphere where you can sample a variety of handcrafted brews. Take a brewery tour to learn about beer-making or simply unwind with a pint of their finest ale.


Visit the Raglan Museum


Visit the Raglan Museum to delve into Raglan’s rich history and heritage. Housed in a historic building, this museum showcases fascinating exhibits chronicling the town’s evolution from Maori origins to present-day charm. Experience artefacts, photographs and interactive displays that provide insight into Raglan’s past and present.


Explore the Arts Scene


Discover Raglan’s vibrant artistic life by exploring its galleries, studios and creative spaces. Take shelter from the rain as you wander through eclectic art galleries showcasing works by local and national artists. From contemporary paintings to traditional Maori carvings, there’s something to inspire art enthusiasts.


Cozy up in a Cafe


Savor the simple pleasure of a warm cup of coffee or a delicious meal at one of Raglan’s cozy cafes. Whether you’re craving a hearty brunch, a decadent dessert, or a gourmet sandwich, Raglan’s cafes offer a welcoming retreat from the rain. Curl up with a book, chat with locals, or simply watch the world go by as you enjoy the comforts of a cozy cafe.


Yoga and Wellness


There’s no better time for self-care and relaxation when the rain pours. Raglan boasts several yoga studios and wellness centers where you can unwind with a rejuvenating yoga session or pamper yourself with a luxurious spa treatment. Let the soothing sounds of raindrops outside enhance your sense of tranquility as you find your inner zen.


Wine Tasting


What better way to spend a rainy afternoon than sampling exquisite wines at one of Raglan’s local vineyards? Take a guided tour of the vineyard, learn about the winemaking process, and savor the flavors of premium wines produced in the region. With a glass of wine in hand and good company by your side, the rainy weather will only add to the cozy ambiance of the tasting room.


Movie Marathon


Escape the gloomy weather by cozying indoors and having a movie marathon with friends or family. Whether you prefer classic films or the latest blockbusters, you can find a selection of movies to suit every taste at Raglan’s quaint cinemas. Grab some popcorn, snuggle under a blanket, and immerse yourself in a cinematic experience that will make you forget all about the rain outside.




Explore Raglan’s eclectic boutiques, art galleries, and craft markets, where you can browse unique handmade treasures and souvenirs. From locally crafted jewelry and clothing to one-of-a-kind artworks, there’s no shortage of delightful finds to discover. Embrace the opportunity to support local artisans and take home a piece of Raglan’s creative spirit.


Cooking Class


Unleash your culinary creativity with a cooking class led by Raglan’s talented chefs and food enthusiasts. Learn to prepare delicious dishes using fresh, locally sourced ingredients while picking up valuable cooking tips and techniques. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned chef, a cooking class is a fun and interactive way to spend a rainy day in Raglan.


Where to Eat in Raglan?

The Shack


Nestled in the heart of Raglan, The Shack offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for indulging in hearty breakfasts or enjoying a leisurely lunch. Their menu boasts a variety of mouthwatering dishes, including gourmet burgers, fresh seafood, and vegetarian options. Remember to try their famous homemade pies and decadent desserts.


Orca Restaurant & Bar


For a taste of fine dining with breathtaking ocean views, head to Orca Restaurant & Bar. Situated overlooking Raglan Harbour, this upscale eatery prides itself on serving delicious contemporary cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Whether savoring their succulent seafood platter or sampling their innovative cocktails, dining at Orca will surely be a memorable experience.


Raglan Roast


Coffee enthusiasts will take advantage of Raglan Roast, a beloved local institution renowned for its exceptional brews. This quaint coffee shop is perfect for starting your day with a steaming cup of artisanal coffee made from ethically sourced beans. Pair your coffee with a freshly baked pastry or a savory snack for the ultimate morning pick-me-up.


Raglan Fish


For the freshest seafood in town, look no further than Raglan Fish. Located near the waterfront, this fish and chip shop serves generous portions of crispy battered fish, golden fries, and other seafood delights. Enjoy your meal outside while enjoying the stunning views of Raglan’s coastline.


Rock-It Kitchen


Rock-It Kitchen is a must-visit for those craving delicious comfort food with a creative twist. This quirky eatery offers a diverse menu featuring gourmet pizzas, loaded burgers, and mouthwatering tacos. With its vibrant atmosphere and friendly service, Rock-It Kitchen is the perfect spot to enjoy a casual meal with friends or family.

When is the best time to visit Raglan, New Zealand?

Raglan enjoys a mild maritime climate, making it an ideal year-round destination for outdoor adventures. However, the best time to visit depends on your personal preferences and interests.


Summer (December to February) is the peak tourist season. With long sunny days and warm temperatures perfect for beach Raglan activities and water sports, the town comes alive with festivals, events, and live music, creating a vibrant atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.


Autumn (March to May) brings cooler weather and fewer crowds, making it ideal for leisurely exploring Raglan’s natural beauty. Witness the stunning fall foliage, hike scenic trails, and indulge in seasonal delicacies at local eateries.


Winter (June to August) may not be prime beach weather, but it’s the perfect time for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy Raglan’s rugged coastline and lush landscapes without the crowds. Bundle up for invigorating hikes, storm-watching, and cozy evenings by the fireplace. For those wondering what to do in Raglan in winter, exploring the charming town center, sampling local cuisine, and immersing oneself in the laid-back atmosphere are equally rewarding activities.


Spring (September to November) marks the return of warmer temperatures and blooming flora, transforming Raglan into a colorful paradise. Enjoy springtime blooms, wildlife sightings, and outdoor adventures before the summer crowds arrive.


Ultimately, the best time to visit Raglan depends on your interests and what activities you hope to enjoy during your stay.

How to get to Raglan?

Located approximately 48 kilometers west of Hamilton, Raglan is easily accessible by car, bus, or shuttle from major cities and towns across New Zealand.


If you’re arriving by air, the nearest international airport is Hamilton Airport, located approximately 55 kilometers northeast of Raglan. You can rent a car or take a shuttle to reach your destination.


Travelers from Auckland can take a scenic drive along State Highway 1 and State Highway 23, which takes approximately two hours, depending on traffic conditions. Alternatively, bus services operate between Auckland and Raglan, offering a convenient and affordable transportation option for those without a car.


Once you arrive, you can get around town on foot or by bike. Most Raglan attractions, shops, and eateries are within walking distance of each other.

Explore Raglan carefree with Travel Insurance

Before embarking on your Raglan adventure, secure comprehensive travel insurance to protect yourself against unexpected mishaps or emergencies. Whether it’s a medical issue, trip cancellation, or lost luggage, travel insurance provides peace of mind, knowing you’re covered in unforeseen circumstances.


From surfing accidents to sudden illness, travel insurance offers financial protection and assistance services to ensure a worry-free vacation. Be sure to read the policy terms and conditions carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered, and consider purchasing additional coverage for activities in Raglan, such as adventure sports or rental car protection.


With the right travel insurance coverage, you can explore Raglan carefree, knowing you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.

Final Thoughts

Raglan is a hidden gem on New Zealand’s North Island, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and laid-back charm. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping activities or peaceful relaxation, Raglan has something great for everyone, from world-renowned surfing spots to picturesque hiking trails.


From surfing at Ngarunui Beach to hiking Mount Karioi, exploring Raglan’s vibrant arts scene, to indulging in local cuisine, there are numerous places to visit in Raglan that showcase its diverse attractions. So pack your bags, hit the road, and discover why Raglan is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable Kiwi experience.